Tales She Tells
Academy at King Edward (8525 101 street) August 16, 17, 18. 19, 21, 22
More information: tessmcmanus.com
An interview with Lydia Riding.
Tales She Tells. Photo credit: Sophie Post-Croteau
Describe your show in five words.
Ancient Irish folklore, storytelling, solo-show,
Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?
A young woman embarks on a re-examination of the ancient tales of Irish folklore and mythology of her childhood. On her journey, she struggles to reestablish her relationship with her mother, which was based on these tales. Tales She Tells takes you out of the present time and into the fantastical world of druids, gods, goddesses and champion warriors dying to love you. As the endearing stories unfolds, the young woman begins to realize that the stories she idolized when she was younger might be far less romantic and fanciful than she once thought.
How did you become familiar with the stories that are part of Tales She Tells?
The Irish-born playwright Tess McManus had actually grown up on these wonderful stories and she had wanted to pay tribute to her family and childhood by creating this script. I (Lydia Riding) fell in love with the easy accessibility of the magic and wonder that reminded me of my own childhood imaginations, playing dress-up for hours with my two sisters in my mother’s discarded clothes. I related to the tenderness that the character felt for her mother and also the struggle she had with trying to find enchantment within modern society. I fell in love with the strong female characters presented in ancient Irish folklore, and was fascinated by the overriding theme of fate and destiny within them.
Stories are an important part of culture – what do you want to achieve or communicate through Tales She Tells?
I remember as a child being able to fully invest myself in verbal stories. My eyes would widen and the world would melt around me until all I saw were the figures of the tale being told. I wanted to move the audience to this emotional stasis that is so unlike a sitcom interrupted by commercials every five minutes. I wanted to explore the ancient wonder of stories that create a tangible atmosphere of togetherness as the audience journeys through foreign landscapes. I want to achieve this because I feel like it mirrors the character’s own relationship with her mother- the closeness they felt at telling one another their favorite stories. Alternatively, I also wanted to communicate the dislocation felt by someone who invested too much into these stories, at the cost of their investment in their own individual growth. I wanted to create an environment of wonder, enchantment, bravery, vulnerability, adventure and love.
Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?
I would like the audiences to know that multiple times throughout the production, the play seamlessly transitions from a young modern woman reevaluating ancient Irish folklore, to an enactment of three Irish tales, in which the characters come to life within the fairy-tale land from which they came. In this way the play’s concept of time takes place in reality and fantasy, allowing for a theatrical enactment of ancient tales from Ireland, from the young woman’s childhood.